Opinion: Remembering Jesse Helms
Jessie Helms was a controversial figure from early on ó voted “Most Obnoxious” in high school and dubbed “Senator No” soon after arriving on on Capitol Hill.
The death of the former U.S. senator today will stir reminiscences both bitter and proud on this Fourth of July weekend. He was, as some put it, “an equal opportunity contrarian.”
But most of all he was a conservative lightning rod who infuriated the left and rallied the right by opposing everything from the extension of the Voting Rights Act to busing and arms control. Some say he was second only to Ronald Reagan in pulling the nation to the right.
“Many have tried to define Jesse Helms by what he opposed,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, once said. “I will remember him for what he supported: Freedom, human rights, and a strong and independent America, free to spread its good in the world.”
What are your memories of Sen. Jesse Helms and how he influenced the nation? If you’d like to contribute for the Salisbury Post’s Monday forum page on Helms, share your opinion here or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference will be given to comments that bear the writer’s name and can be verified.
ó Elizabeth Cook